After spending some time carrying out a lot of research I thought I should answer the question “what is a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA).” in this detailed article. As you would expect, a few misconceptions have been made regarding Adventists, the word Cult has even been used by some to describe the church. So what exactly is a seventh-Day Adventist?
They are a group of Christians that are known for their emphasis on bible study, a strong belief in the coming of Christ and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. One Adventist pastor describes the movement as “…a church that’s been called into the world follow the bible, love the lord, love all neighbours, serve fellow man and to hold firm to the belief of the second coming of Christ”.
Why the name Seventh Day Adventist
To understand the meaning of the name it’s best to look at the two parts that form the word.
Seventh-Day: The belief in the Seventh-Day sabbath is what this points to.
Adventist: A belief in the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ.
In order to understand the history of the movement it’s important to look at a significant event that happened just before the church was formed.
The Great Disappointment and the SDA church
In the 1800’s, William Miller, a Baptist preacher, was a forefront of a movement in which he was preaching that Jesus would return in 1844. He used a bible prophecy in Daniel 8 to teach this message. Thousands of people were converted and there were between 50,000 to 100,000 who were expecting Christ to come on Oct 22, 1844. As we know from history Jesus did not return to the earth on that date. This was the great disappointment.
What I love about the Adventist Church is that they are a group of Christians from many different backgrounds that basically put aside their differences in order to study the bible together to know what truth really is. In 1844 those that experienced the disappointment re were baptists, methodists, congregationalist and presbyterians. After the disappointment many lost faith in the bible but there were a few who decided to go back and studied the bible to see where they went wrong and to seek for the important truths of the bible. It’s a beautiful thing when people come in a humble manner to study together!
After years of bible study, in precisely 1863 the Seventh-Day Adventist Church was born.After years of bible study, in precisely 1863 the Seventh-Day Adventist Church was born. Click To Tweet
Some of the notable names of those who were instrumental during the early stages of the church are James White, Joseph Bates and Ellen White.
What do Adventists believe (the rules)
The church as it is today was a result of the bible studies that following after the Great disappointment. So what exactly do Adventists believe? Below are some of the core beliefs, they believe:
- that salvation comes by grace through faith
- the importance of bible study
- The Godhead
- Baptism by Immersion
- the imminent second coming of Christ
- the observing/keeping of the 10 commandments (including the seventh day sabbath. The sabbath is not kept as way of working for your salvation but it is observed out of love for the Lord)
- Contrary to popular opinion Adventists do not believe that they will be the only ones in heaven
- That Jesus is our High Priest & that that there is a sanctuary in heaven which was a model for the old testament sanctuaries. (Hebrews 8:1-2)
- The Communion service
- The belief believe in Hell (not eternal torment but that hell will exist to consume sin & sinners at the end of time)
- the unconscious state of those of who are dead (a peaceful sleep until the resurrection)
- the importance of keeping the body healthy & the promotion of a plant based diet
Scroll down to the bottom if you’d like to see the 28 Fundamental beliefs of the church.
The Adventist Worldwide Relief Agency
The church has a worldwide relief agency called the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). This involves members going to countries around the world especially when disasters have struck to provide relief and ongoing help in developing countries to alleviate the needs of the people. Jesus said in Matthew 25 “I was hungry and you fed me I was thirsty and you gave me drink I was naked and you clothed me I was a stranger and you visited me I was in prison and you came to me, in as much as you do it to the least of these you’ve done to me so”. So alleviating the suffering of humanity and is part of the ministry of Christ that’s what it means to be a Christian. It’s an interesting fact that globally there are over 170 Adventist hospitals (including health centres).
Their healthcare ministry is one of the largest in the world after the Catholic church. Seventh Day Adventist believe that the Bible teaches healthy living and that your body is the Temple of the holy spirit and so because of this there is a great need to care for our bodies. There are a number of studies that have shown that Seventh-Day Adventist live an average of 10 years longer than the average citizen and some countries it’s much better than that but in America it’s an average of 10 years longer. There has been a lot of research and documentaries carried out, just an example there was a documentary called “The World’s Best Diets” aired in the UK in which the Adventist diet was ranked in the Top 4.
The 28 fundamental beliefs that a typical Adventist believes
The full original and untainted list along with verses can be found here: https://www.adventist.org/en/beliefs/
The Holy Scriptures
Adventists believe in the authority of the Holy Scriptures and that the Old and the New Testaments were given by divine inspiration and are the written Word of God.
The word trinity does not exist in the bible but Adventists do believe that there is only one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a unity of three coeternal Persons.
God the eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. He was not a created being. The world was created through Christ. He came to the earth and correctly represented the true character of God to the world.
The Holy Spirit
The holy spirit is the third person of the Godhead body
The Creation account in the scriptures is literal 6 day representation of the work the creative work of God. God rested on the seventh day following his creation
The Nature of Humanity
Humanity was created in the image of God and with the freedom to make choices. Man and woman depend on God entirely for life. Without God in the picture humanity ceases to exist.
The Great Controversy
The following quote is a description that I used to describe the great controversy on this page: ““The Great Controversy describes the war between Christ and Satan. Satan wants to be “like the most high” , so God allows him to go ahead to prove himself! The inhabitants of the earth (humanity) have been key players in the drama since the garden of Eden and will continue to play a role all the way through history into the future. The poor condition of our world today is the result of Satan’s attempt to prove himself. The final act of this drama will bring about the greatest division the world has ever seen. There are only two sides, Christs or Satan’s. Satan in an attempt win the favour of many will carry out his master piece deception, just like he deceived Eve in the garden of Eden. Mankind is to choose which side of the drama to be found on. The past, the present, and the future are presented vividly in this book, read the book ‘Great Controversy’ to find out more”.
The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ
“In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator.“
In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God.
Growing in Christ
By His death on the cross Jesus triumphed over the forces of evil. He who subjugated the demonic spirits during His earthly ministry has broken their power and made certain their ultimate doom.
The church is the community of believers. Jesus Christ is professed as Lord and Savior.
The Remnant and Its Mission
The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
Unity in the Body of Christ
The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us.
The Importance of Baptism
By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and testify of our death to sin and of our purpose to walk in newness of life.
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him, our Lord and Savior. The communion service is open to all believing Christians.
Spiritual Gifts and Ministries
God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts that each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity.
The Gift of Prophecy
The Scriptures testify that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and we believe it was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White.
The Law of God
The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ.
The gracious Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation. The fourth commandment of God’s unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath.
We are God’s stewards, entrusted by Him with time and opportunities, abilities and possessions, and the blessings of the earth and its resources. We are responsible to Him for their proper use.
We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with biblical principles in all aspects of personal and social life.
Marriage and the Family
Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship.
Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary
There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle that the Lord set up and not humans. In it Christ ministers on our behalf making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross.
The Second Coming of Christ
The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel.
Death and Resurrection
The wages of sin is death. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed.
The Millennium and the End of Sin
The millennium is the thousand-year reign of Christ with His saints in heaven between the first and second resurrections.
The New Earth
On the new earth, in which righteousness dwells, God will provide an eternal home for the redeemed and a perfect environment for everlasting life, love, joy, and learning in His presence. For here God Himself will dwell with His people, and suffering and death will have passed away. The great controversy will be ended, and sin will be no more. All things, animate and inanimate, will declare that God is love; and He shall reign forever.
We all know every sometimes has members who not represent the church. We should be careful not to judge a church by a few bad people, remember even in Christ’s day, they had Judas with them. It’s possible that you might once have met an adventist who may have come across as anti-christian but we shouldn’t judge the whole church based on these individuals. The Adventist church is a church of God’s family.